THE RESURGENCE OF NATIONALISM IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Mădălina Calance Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași calancemadalina@yahoo.com Abstract: Considering the process of integration and the enlargement of the European Union, the continent's political map changed significantly during the last decades. For most of the European nations, facing the integration is going on the path of the economic and social improvement, which also involves important aspects about the nation-state (national identity, nationalism). This paper will focus on the meanings and the dimensions of contemporary nationalism and will later look at the impact of the nationalist ideas in the EU, in times of recession. The study found out that there are many perspectives of the EU challenging national economies and the state sovereignty but, at the same time, people are aware the imminence of the European identity in their economic and cultural future. Keywords: nationalism, national identity, European identity, immigration, populist parties JEL Classification: F15, F52, F59

INTRODUCTION

In the European history, the idea of nationalism has very deep roots. The nationalist ideology is a chameleon over time, being adapted to the prerogatives of a certain nation, the theoretical interpretations of a historical period or to specific political circumstances. Certainly, nationalism is one of the major phenomenons of the last two centuries, whose expression is a reflection of multiplying the nation-states from a dozen (mostly in Europe) to thousands. This increase demonstrates the strength of the principle of self-determination, which proclaims the right of people and nations to establish their own course of political, economic, cultural and social development, without outside interventions. Under the aegis of globalization, important economic and political changes are occurring throughout the world, due to the activity of multinational or transnational corporations, interstate economic organizations or supranational organizations (such as the European Union), with a major impact on the sovereignty of the national state, considered to be more powerless in solving global problems such as: monetary policy, security, the regulation of commercial activities, etc. The new shape of world politics is emerging the idea of the state losing sovereignty in favour of higher political entities. There are many aspects of the European Union challenging national sovereignty. This fact is feeding the nationalist and populist criticism and is shaping a resistance phenomenon. Therefore, we can notice an antagonistic relationship between nationalists, focusing on the set of

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was a dominant factor alike in dynastic movements and as an inner motive in the life of masses of population. THE PAST AND PRESENT OF EUROPEAN NATIONALISM An Encyclopaedia Britannica * overview submits that nationalism is an ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests. IV. According to the English economist John A.Hungary. This view tends to be anachronistic in the context of a galloping XXI st century globalization. but socially as well. Otherwise. (1). Furthermore. and the Swiss Federation. sometimes took a disruptive form […] or sometimes it was a unifying or a centralising force. the general tendency was towards welding into large strong national unities the loosely related states and provinces with shifting attachments and alliances that covered large areas. On the other hand. the new political system created the dilemma of nationstate. Whether individuals are single or organized in communities. which reveals the possibility of higher authorities to manage and enforce rules and judgments directly to the national structures.co m CES Wo rking Papers. they always feel the need for distinction. "identity" or "independence".britannica.3) * www. or establishment of political union on a basis of nationality. at a global level. a sociological or psychological perspective. The national identity is now facing especially the contact with other national cultures. financial and international migration.” (p. as in the cases of Austro. the approach of a unified society is paradoxically emphasizing notions as "difference". the socio-cultural interconnectivity leads to the emergence of nationalist ideas that are either justified or exaggerated. nationalism is a doctrine that differentiates the individuals in their nationality. which supports the reinforcement of national identies. 1. However. integration seems to dissipate the political borders of nation-states. Nationalism was the most successful political force of the XIXth century. In varietate concordia).interests and aspirations of a nation and supra nationalism . Inevitably. and therefore adopted the motto”Unity in diversity” (lat. in external politics. not only economical. It is true that the forces making for political union sometimes went further. That struggle. The European Union understood this imperative. 2012 25 . Norway and Sweden. by facilitating trade flows. Hobson (2005) during the nineteenth century ’’ the struggle towards nationalism. making for federal union of diverse nationalities. In both. as in United Germany and in North America. [… ] Sometimes nationality was taken as a basis of federation of States. enlarging the area of nationality.

With the European Union. These parties have managed to legitimize policies by nationalist and protectionist approach. the economic recession proves once again that the emergence of nationalism is a condition. as well. and populism refers to an ideology that considers society ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic ’pure people’ versus ’the corrupt elite’. or populism” (p. ideas. the nationalist ideas and the future of national economies. seeking to redefine the principles of states and the national identity against the supranational institutions. Many voices. p.In middle of the XXth century the European nationalism loses its original meaning becoming more aggressive. are putting into question the power of the nation state. to please the people of Europe. Cas Mudde (2004 a) studies the issue of populist parties and defines them as „political parties that share an ideology which combine features as: nationalism. The Second World War ends with the communist regimes takeover. and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people” (Mudde 2004 b. According to Riva Kastoryano (2010). On the other hand. authoritarianism. This creates a reaction from the far-right parties. (1). identity and diversity and questioning the Union’s capacity to lead the states beyond their features. In times of austerity. xenophobia refers to the fear of anything alien (including people. from the academic or the political field. habits). the European Court of Human Rights or the Commission) impose standards on states. xenophobia. The supra. the far-right parties are rising in Europe. At the end of the century. fed by growing nationalist resentments of citizens or immigrants. IV. CES Wo rking Papers.national character of the Union requires that all member states should surrender a part of their sovereignty by correlating the legislation and applying the directives of the European institutions. racism and xenophobia. the collapse of communism and the European Union enlargement were succeeded by the removal of anti-democratic aspects.4). The same author claims that” nationalism entails a polit ical doctrine arguing the convergence of state (the political unit) and nation (the cultural unit). the national boundaries are redrawn. nationalism is a major challenge for the EU by raising the issue of minorities. by promoting chauvinism. especially in countries with dictatorial (fascist) regime. Supranational is normative. 2012 26 . 543). the nationalism being transformed in empathy for the national working class and xenophobia for the capitalist side. so the EU institutions (the European Court of Justice. authoritarianism denotes a strict belief in law and order (yet not necessarily an antidemocratic attitude).

2. the approaches of national identity are configured on cultural. (1). of the validity of a system of states in each region and continent. ”the nation and the national identity.2. as well as in language. Iceland. Republic of Macedonia. Spain. Belgiu m. Lu xembourg. gender. 144). values and memories. institutions and ceremonies. Latvia. by commanding the basic political allegiance of citizens. Anthony Smith (1991) sees national identity as the most fundamental and inclusive of all collective identities (class. Ireland. ethnic or historical backgrounds. Austria. Estonia. CES Wo rking Papers. because of their omnipresence and universality.1 Protecting national identity On a late 90’s survey† initiated by The European Values Study questioning the opinion on the European Union. Bosnia -Herzegovina. Czech Republic. Greece. Republic of Montenegro. Slovak Republic. * † http://europa. in terms of both territory and of resources and skills” (p. Fin land. Portugal.eu/scadplus/constitution/objectives_en. Ukraine. have become the only recognized source of ‘inter. Otherwise. and ultimately in the world as a whole. He claims that ”in the cultural sphere. Cyprus. Poland. Russia. many people believed that EU was an organism able to protect national identity. Den mark. Lithuania. Sweden. Belarus.national legitimacy’. Germany (East/West). The Netherlands. Smith (1991) speaks about national identity in political terms as determining the co mposition of the regime ’s personnel and legitimating the policy goals and administrative practices for every citizen. Regarding the relations between the Union and the Member States.). Also. statistics show that the feelings of belonging to EU are tending to be very similar in nature to the way citizens are proud of their nationality. Turkey. etc. Ro mania. 2012 27 . Slovenia. The nation may also be seen as the basic unit of moral economy. law. Norway. Serbia. For Smith. Armen ia. race. 144) . Great Britain. Swit zerland.htm Research aria: A lbania. IV. Northern Ireland. the generally accepted boundary within which intercourse normally takes place and the limit for distinguishing the ’outsider’. historical or ethnic references. Malta. Socially. the European Constitutional Treaty brings the obligation to respect the national identities and the fundamental political and constitutional structures of the Member States * . Bulgaria. A zerbaijan. Italy. Hungary. the nation-states and the national identity are fundamental dimensions of the modern world. NATIONAL AND EUROPEAN IDENTITY The meaning of national identity is based on the concept of nation-state (as its founding principle) that relies on cultural.” (p. Republic of Moldova. religion. national identity is revealed in a whole range of assumptions and myths. France. Therefore. Kosovo. Northern Cyprus. Georg ia. Croatia. the national bond provides the most inclusive community.

gesis. historical and cultural identities and their national economic interests from the challenges of the superpowers. in times of recession. historical and cultural identities. the fear of loosing national identity was more intense. the frequency of sceptical views has increased considerably.org/) In 2008. the percentage of people who answered they were ” very much afraid” of loosing national culture or identity almost equals the percentage of negative answers.For them. the unemployment or the immigration. (1). Few people were thinking that unifying the European states would mean the end of their national. there is a greater percentage of the answers favouring the idea of European Union as protective for the national identity (about 75 %): Figure 1 – Opinion on European Union: National Identity (1990-1999) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. Their national economic interests would also be sacrificed. 2012 28 . due to important factors such as the global crisis. of people saying they are ”not afraid of all” (17%). As we can see in Figure 2. As we can see in Figure 1. IV. only a truly united Europe could protect its states national. If ten years before some people may have had fears about the consequences of the European Union openness. CES Wo rking Papers.

common space. Today. because the mobility of individuals comes with the external migration phenomenon. Furthermore. The European nationalism of the XIXth century was an unifying force which brought together people of diverse backgrounds at the price of subordinating their ethnic identities to the larger territorial unit dominated by the secular state (Pamir. higher incomes or just a better lifestyle. With the dissipation of borders induced by increased international collaboration and the influx of labor force in the European market. the international migration flows can be considered by the host population as a threat to the national identity and can cause nationalist reactions of rejection. 2012 29 . In response to xenophobia of the host population the immigrants could preserve their national identity and CES Wo rking Papers. it offers the opportunity for business to expand and for millions of people to have better jobs. (1).2 Immigration Immigration affects the national economic system and always represented an important social problem.org/) 2. IV. with the EU consolidation. the state and the ethnic identities operate and interact in a larger. At the same time we are facing a negative phenomenon.Figure 2 – Fear of loosing national identity (2008) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat.gesis. 2005).

Thus. many people are considering that immigrants take jobs away from natives in a country and will become a threat to society.gesis.g.maintain strong links with the original community. Instead of a uniform European society. the evolution of multicultural states is a major threat to nationalist ideology. as well. penetration and mixture of individuals from different cultura l backgrounds other than the reference country are leading to the development of multicultural communities. 2012 30 . IV. As we can see in the below charts (figures 3 and 4). (1). In Europe. CES Wo rking Papers. A similar percentage sees the future of society affected by the proportion of immigrants. Figure 3 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants taking their jobs Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. as a result of integration. nationalism finds expression inside the communities living within nationstates and aspires to autonomy or their own state constitution (e. being a challenge for cultural heritage of nations. there is a rare situation when a state administers a homogeneous community. even within nation-states.org/) About 40% of respondents asked in the survey belived that immigrants are causing damages on the national labor market. In fact. and migration continues to erode faith in the nation-state. and only few disagree with this assumptions. we are witnessing an increasing diversity inside the national space. Therefore. the Hungarians in Transylvania).

the job losses. The current global recession hit hard the Euro Zone.’33 crisis that paved the way for Hitler or Mussolini’s nationalist governments. which are anti-Islamist. Sweden. in Finland. They represent the voice of citizens. We have the example of the ’29.org/) 2. Austria. True Finns party.3 The nationalist parties The political and economic history of Europe shows us that the economic recession leads to the emergence of nationalism and enhances the credibility of nationalist governments. the instability. The France National Front (FN). Italy. Europhobic parties are challenging the European democracy.gesis. BBC News Europe also indicates a resurgence of nationalism in Europe by recording the electoral results for some of the most successful nationalist/ anti. France or Belgium the rise of populist. the inequality and poverty in developing countries. xenophobic. Denmark.immigrant parties in Europe. Moreover. Hungary. that are expressed mostly through the voice of nationalist or populist parties.Figure 4 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants representing a social threat Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. challenging the economy and the common currency. In Finland. the negative ”domino” effects of globalization. which is eurosceptic CES Wo rking Papers. (1). 2012 31 . or immigration. the Netherlands. The Dutch Freedom Party and the Danish People's Party. which are disrupted by the globalization. IV. exceeding 10 % (figure 5). the dependence on powerful supranational bodies are often causing discontents and emerging nationalist ideas.

Bulgaria is fighting * The world's leading private intelligence firm (www.co m) CES Wo rking Papers. the ongoing economic crisis ”has corroborated much of that which they advocate: those immigration policies should be reformed. etc. 2012 32 .co m According to a STRATFOR * (2011) study..stratfor. (1). offensive or defensive nationalism are a source of tension between neighbor states. in the minds of many nationalist parties in Europe. they all have great political influence by achieving trust and votes from the electorate. which would grant Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians outside its borders and Romanians.and a strong opponent of the immigration. such as Hungary. and that their national identities should be protected.” In central Europe. Figure 5 – Average votes for nationalist parties in the last 3 general elections Source: www. in the past 3 years. seeking to complete the Romanian territory. IV.starfor. that the European integration process should be reverted.

the acceptance of immigration may be assured by a more active integration policy. CONCLUSIONS Nationalism is made in Europe. is expressed by targeting immigration.uk/news/world-europe-13115454.J. IV. Not all these nationalist issues will withdraw in the near future. as well. the European model of society can defend itself and protect the national identity. and rejection of the other. Mudde. involving their habits and lifestyles. (1).com/EBchecked/topic/405644/nationalism. Of course. CES Wo rking Papers. Once again.against Muslim Turkish and Roma minorities. Great social and economic processes like the integration or the globalization can find a serious opponent in extreme nationalism. Europe encountered the resurgence of nationalism. intolerance. providing tensions. A. restoring industrial and trade policies by making them more offensive could abolish criticisms against the economic openness of the EU.bbc. acessed on February 2012 at: http://zacat. In addition. far from defining the territorial boundaries of states.britannica.3. New York: Cosimo Inc. This is why the European democracy is often helpless in front of the simplistic populist thinking. Today’s nationalism. 2012 33 . (2004 a) Globalization: The multi-faced enemy?. Islam or multiculturalism for strengthening the borders that define the national identity.d) Nationalism .org/. C. accessed on February 2012 at: http:/www. Hobson. pp. Only by assuming and highly asserting its own values. CERC Working Paper.4-27. H. Kohn. The fact that EU states shared their sovereignty is a source of ambiguity. (2005) Imperialism: A Study. in times of massive immigration and crisis.co. No.gesis. the historical experience of all European nations tells us that its story will never end. REFERENCES Europe: Nationalist resurgence (2011). (n. paradox and nationalist extremes. Economic and cultural international relations will always be affected by the differences between people. available on BBC News Europe. A degeneration of the situation is a major threat for the already fragile European populations. Each of these problems finds support in the progressive nationalist speeches of the populist parties. available at http://www. Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences.

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